• Driving tips



    Change gears at lower rpm

    If you have a manual gearbox, change gears at lower engine rpm. As a broad rule of thumb, change up before 3000rpm if you are driving a petrol-engine car and before 2000rpm if you have a diesel. And if your car has an automatic gearbox, avoid using the ‘sport’ mode as this means gear changes occur at higher engine rpm. Also, avoid ‘kick down’, which causes the gearbox to jump to a lower gear for more aggressive acceleration.

    Shift from first to third gear

    On straight and level roads, shift from first to third gear for efficient progress. Accelerate gently and avoid pressing the throttle pedal more than half way down.

    Anticipate traffic flow

    Look well ahead to judge traffic flow. Avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking, as less stopping and starting means less CO2 emissions.

    Maintain a steady speed

    Drive at a constant speed and in the highest gear possible. For example, 80 kilometres per hour in top gear is fine for most cars and will contribute to lower fuel consumption.

    Turn off the engine

    If you have to wait more than one minute for, say, a traffic jam or train crossing, switching off your engine can save you up to 0.5 litres of fuel every hour.

    Turn off the air conditioning

    Only use the air conditioning when you need it. Studies have shown that using the air conditioning causes an increase in fuel consumption (between 2% and 10%).

    Use the trip computer

    In-car diagnostics can help to save fuel. Trip computers can often give you an indication of instant fuel consumption, which helps you to learn how your driving style affects your fuel consumption.

    Slow down

    More than 50% of the energy required to move a car is spent overcoming aerodynamic drag (pushing the air out of the way). The faster you drive, the more aerodynamic drag increases and fuel economy decreases. Increasing your cruising speed from 100 kilometres per hour to 120 kilometres per hour will increase fuel consumption by about 20%. Reducing your speed from 100 kilometres per hour to 90 kilometres per hour improves fuel economy by about 10%.

    Remove unnecessary items from your car

    Don’t carry unnecessary items on or in your car. A roof carrier increases drag, thereby increasing fuel consumption. So will carrying unnecessary weight in the boot.

    Roll the windows up

    At speeds above 50 kilometres per hour an open window significantly increases aerodynamic drag. At higher speeds, using the air conditioning can be more efficient.

    Use the cruise control wisely

    On long, even roads cruise control will help you to maintain a steady speed, but don’t leave the cruise control on when driving on roads with many hills and valleys. The gearbox will ‘kick down’ on hills to maintain a selected speed, where a driver might choose to coast at a lower speed.

    Watch your tyre pressure

    Keep an eye on your tyre pressure. Under inflated tyres generate more rolling resistance. It is generally accepted that 20% under inflation leads to 3% higher fuel consumption.

    Carry out proper maintenance

    Change oil and filters according to the service manual and also attend to regular service checks to ensure your car runs smoothly and economically.

    Combine trips

    Warmed-up engines and catalysts generate much less air pollution, so combining several short trips into one can make a big difference. And for short distances walk, take public transport or ride your bike. Carrying groceries or other bulky stuff can still be done on a bike with a backpack or some slick modifications.

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